There are several weapons and firearms offences a person can be charged with depending on the circumstances, type of weapon, and other factors. Some of the more common offences include:
- Possession of a Prohibited Weapon or Firearm
- Possession of a Restricted Weapon or Firearm
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- Discharging a Weapon or Firearm in a Public Place
- Weapon and Firearm Trafficking
- Selling Restricted and Prohibited Weapons and Firearms
- Distributing Restricted and Prohibited Weapons and Firearms
What Does the Law Consider a Weapon?
A common misconception people have in regards to weapons offences is a weapon has to be a firearm or knife. However, the law views weapons as any object or item that can be used as weapon in such a manner to imply the threat of harm or inflict harm on another. Items and objects, like golf clubs, forks, belts, shoes, trophies, paper weights, letter openers, and even pillows, as well as various parts of the body might be considered weapons. The Criminal Code of Canada contains the exact definitions used to define weapons and firearms and all types of firearms and weapons criminal offences. The Crown has to carefully evaluate every case to determine the exact charges to file against someone accused of a firearms or weapons offence.
Can I Be Charged for Possession Even Though It Is Not My Weapon?
You can be charged for weapon possession, even in cases where the weapon does not belong to you. Sometimes, the police bring charges against everyone, like if you were in a car with your friends and the police found a restricted or prohibited weapon in the trunk. Since the police do not know who actually owns the weapon, they tend to charge everyone hoping, you and/or your friends will tell them who actually owns it. In the event you were merely in the car and had no knowledge the weapon was in the trunk, it is possible to build a strong defence against the charges and get them withdrawn or dismissed.
On the other hand, if you were holding the weapon or had it on your person, the charges may seem clear-cut, although you do not personally own the weapon, since it was found in your possession by the police. Even when it seems like the Crown has a solid case it does not necessarily mean all is lost. There are various defences that can be used to help your case, like if the Canadian Charter Rights of Individuals was violated by the police. If your rights were violated it is possible to seek the exclusion of the weapon from evidence, and if granted, the Crown no longer has a strong case against you for lack of evidence.
Weapons and firearms offences are serious charges requiring proper legal representation. The penalties of being found guilty of a possession charge often include imprisonment. Sentences imposed have minimum recommendations judges must follow and are influenced by a wide range of factors, like the type of weapon, the actual offence, the criminal record of the accused, and how the weapon was being possessed.